UFC Fight Night 108 Octagon girl - Photo credit Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Photo credit Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s off to Nashville this weekend (Sat., April 22, 2017) as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hits Bridgestone Arena for UFC Fight Night 108, live and free on FOX Sports 1.

Predictions? HERE WE GO!

145 lbs.: Cub Swanson (24-7) vs. Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov (14-12-1)

Swanson has five inches of reach, a far superior kicking game, more proven cardio, actual experience against top-shelf featherweights, more creativity, and better grappling. Lobov has Conor McGregor’s sponsorship.

Only question is how long it lasts.

Prediction: Swanson by third-round TKO

155 lbs.: “Ragin’” Al Iaquinta (12-3-1) vs. Diego “Nightmare/Dream/Lionheart” Sanchez (27-9)

Iaquinta’s physical strength and overall striking edge ought to earn him the decision. Whether the judges actually give him said decision is up in the air.

Prediction: Iaquinta by split decision

205 lbs.: Ovince St. Preux (19-10) vs. Marcos Rogerio “Pezao” de Lima (15-4-1)

If OSP had shown any real advancement in his takedown game, he’d have this in the bag. As is, expect the Brazilian to find his chin sometime in the early going.

Prediction: Rogerio de Lima by first-round knockout

135 lbs.: John “The Magician” Dodson (18-8) vs. Eddie Wineland (23-11-1)

Dodson has never been stopped and stood up to Lineker’s sledgehammer fists, which bodes ill for Wineland’s chance at the knockout. Without that threat to rely on, it’s hard to envision him overcoming Dodson’s absurd speed. “The Magician” may not have any real entries besides straightforward charges, but that’s enough against a flat-flooted slugger. He scores the finish late in the first or early in the second.

Prediction: Dodson by first-round knockout

155 lbs.: Joe Lauzon (27-12) vs. Stevie “Braveheart” Ray (20-6)

Ray isn’t going to be looking for takedowns, which makes Lauzon’s life considerably easier and should go some way towards mitigating “Creepy Joe’s” inconsistent cardio. Lauzon also has a strong enough chin to take what Ray can dish out and, provided he doesn’t empty his tank too early, should be able to drag him to the mat sometime in the first few minutes.

Prediction: Lauzon by first-round submission

170 lbs.: Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger (31-12) vs. “Platinum” Mike Perry (9-1)

Perry is not a rangy striker, does not have A+ takedown defense, and is allergic to the concept of calculating. He’s going to charge in and trade hands with the only man to truly buckle Carlos Condit. Ellenberger can also counter decently well and his blast double is unlike anything Perry’s dealt with before.

Working around Ellenberger isn’t as hard as it once looked. Trading hands with him remains suicide.

Prediction: Ellenberger by first-round knockout

135 lbs.: Alexis Davis vs. Cindy Dandois

Following her knockout loss to Ronda Rousey, Alexis Davis (17-7) returned to the cage with an impressive armbar submission of Sara Kaufman for her sixth win in seven fights. Pregnancy delayed her next fight until 19 months later, when she suffered the first submission loss of her career to Sara McMann.

It might wind up being the striking that decides it. Davis has a decent-if-basic kickboxing game, particularly with her low kicks, while Dandois just looks uncomfortable on the feet. Her one-dimensional offense makes it easy for Davis to snuff out takedown attempts. “Ally-Gator” spends enough time on top and lands enough on the feet to take a comfortable decision.

Prediction: Davis via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Bryan Barberena vs. Joe Proctor

The Barberena playbook isn’t exactly complicated, but it’s damn effective against those unable to either physically overpower him or pick him apart at range. The former is going to be more difficult now that he’s back at Lightweight and Proctor doesn’t have the tools to pull off the latter.

Being very big, very tough, and immune to getting tired can carry you quite a ways in UFC, especially against opponents coming off major layoffs. Proctor might give him some early issues, but Barberena’s pressure ought to carry him to a late stoppage win.

Prediction: Barberena via third-round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Hector Sandoval vs. Matt Schnell

Schnell’s issues with takedown defense figure to be the deciding factor. That’s because he’s unlikely to finish Sandoval off of his back and the difference in hand speed makes the striking every bit as hairy. Sandoval scores with enough takedowns and flurries to win the decision.

Prediction: Sandoval via unanimous decision

185 lbs.: Thales Leites vs. Sam Alvey

Alvey is not someone you can be mentally weak against. Worse, Leites’ straightforward bruising opens him up to counters on the feet and I’m not sure he has the tools to crack Alvey’s takedown defense. The Brazilian is tough enough to take what Alvey dishes out, but an inability to consistently overcome adversity dooms him to a decision loss.

Prediction: Alvey via unanimous decision

125 lbs.: Dustin Ortiz vs. Brandon Moreno

Beating him takes either positional brilliance or a strong enough wrestling game to sprawl-and-brawl. Talented as Moreno is, I’m not sure he’s ready for Ortiz’s level of grind. Ortiz’s superior takedown game and ironclad submission defense carry him to victory.

Prediction: Ortiz via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Scott Holtzman vs. Michael McBride

Holtzman has gotten much better at stuffing the takedown since getting run over by Dober. McBride will likely struggle to get him to the mat and, on the feet, has no real checks for Holtzman’s punching power. “Hot Sauce” runs the classic sprawl-and-brawl on his way to a late finish.

Prediction: Holtzman via second-round technical knockout

115 lbs.: Jessica Penne vs. Danielle Taylor

Taylor fights with almost no urgency and her over-reliance on the overhand right should provide Penne ample takedown opportunities. Penne’s also resilient enough to take the blows coming in, as Taylor isn’t the sort of swarmer she’s struggled with. Penne drags her down for a submission win late in the first.

Prediction: Penne via first-round submission

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